Growth plans on Charlotte’s agenda are likely to draw concerns about traffic, schools

Growth plans on Charlotte’s agenda are likely to draw concerns about traffic, schools
Rush-hour Friday at Providence and I-485. (Credit: Davie Hinshaw | The Charlotte Observer)

CHARLOTTE, NC (Ely Portillo/The Charlotte Observer) - Charlotte City Council is set to consider two plans Monday that have stirred up worries about crowded roads and crowded schools, two flashpoints in fast-growing parts of the city.

And in another indication of how much development is taking place in Charlotte these days, City Council is starting its regular zoning meeting an hour early, at 4 p.m., in an attempt to cover its agenda. The number of rezoning petitions filed last year jumped by more than one-third, to a new record of 206.

Here's a quick look at two development plans on City Council's agenda that have drawn concerns from nearby residents:

Northwest Charlotte: City Council is set to vote on a developer's plan to build about 100 affordable housing apartments restricted to low-income renters. Neighbors are opposed to the plan, which they say is too dense. They've said their opposition is rooted in traffic and school crowding, not the income level of the renters.

Legally, City Council isn't supposed to consider the intended price of rent at the apartments when they vote on the plan. But neighbors have pointed out that the rezoning would still apply even if the current plan plan doesn't come to fruition and another developer comes in and builds market-rate apartments on the site.

"Adding additional density now creates a bigger choke point on a state roadway that can't handle the current traffic," said Steven Swicegood, of the Mountain Island Neighborhoods Organization, at a hearing last month.

Jodi McKay, who lives nearby and teaches at Mountain Island Lake Academy, said the school has about twice as many students as it was designed to handle.

"We have more students in trailers than in building space," said McKay.

But Rea Ventures, the Atlanta-based developer who is seeking to build on the site, focuses on affordable developments. The site is on a bus line and near Brookshire Boulevard and Interstate 485.

"We know there's a yearning and appetite for affordable housing," council member Justin Harlow said at the hearing. "It perks our ears up."

Ardrey KellCentury Communities is planning to build 220 residences, mostly townhouses, on a site directly across from Ardrey Kell High School that's currently mostly vacant. Ardrey Kell Road is seeing more traffic from the trio of big developments a few miles away at Providence Road that are drawing thousands of new residents, shoppers and workers: Waverly, Rea Farms and Novel Providence Farms.

The company has already reduced its proposal from 245 townhouses. The townhouses would range from about 1,800 to 2,400 square feet, and the development would take about three years to build.

City Council will hold a hearing on the plan Monday and vote next month.

Earlier this year, Century Communities bought almost 50 acres just south of the Arrowood light rail station on the Blue Line. The company is building 329 townhouses there, starting in the low $200,000s.